Entone, a provider of digital media gateway set-top boxes, will integrate with the Vudu online service to make its movie library available to telecommunications service providers to supplement their television and digital video recorder services. Instead of having to choose between an operator managed service or over the top online video, consumers will be able to receive the best of both worlds through a single user interface.

Entone products provide an IPTV receiver for internet protocol delivered video services, with an additional conventional radio frequency tuner as an option, together with an optional integrated digital video recorder.

Through its partnership with Entone, Vudu will make its movie library available through telecommunications operators deploying Entone IP video gateways and media hubs.

“This arrangement brings together the best of live television, as supported by Entone’s market leading IPTV home connectivity products, with the best of internet on-demand movies, as supported by Vudu’s vast movie library from every major Hollywood studio and over 40 independents,” said Steve McKay, the chief executive of Entone.

“Previously, consumers had to choose between pay TV services and over-the-top Internet video services where the latter was something you did when you were not watching TV,” he continued. “This is the first time two competing visions are coming together in one unified service. By marrying the two concepts, your online movie library is now available as part of your core TV viewing experience from the same user interface and remote control.”

Entone has over 50 telco operator deployments in the United States alone. It was an early innovator in IPTV with its Hydra solution, supporting multiple video streams for enabling video and media delivery throughout the home from a single gateway device. This enables users to view services on any television in the home, connected using existing coaxial cabling. Based on this heritage, the Vudu service enabled by Entone will be accessible to all connected televisions in the home.

The Vudu library includes more than 14,000 movies and television programmes, with more than 1,500 films in high definition, and is updated weekly with new releases and library titles. The service is delivered through a dedicated network connected set-top box one sale from $149.

“We want consumers to get access to Vudu through the devices they already have in their home,” explained Edward Lichty, who is responsible for strategy and content to Vudu. The company has also opened up its platform by providing an application programming interface to enable third-party developers to provide rich internet applications.

Entone describes its approach as bringing over the top video into the fold of service operators to avoid the prospect of them being bypassed and relegated to the role of a data pipe provider for other services.

“We recognise that threats almost always present opportunities,” said Entone. “In this case, we are convinced that pay TV operators, especially telcos, have the opportunity to go on offence rather than defence, embracing online video services as a competitive differentiator with other residual benefits.”

Entone and Vudu have therefore partnered to make the Vudu online movie library accessible to customers of telecommunications operators deploying Entone set-top boxes. Rather than having to buy a separate Vudu box, consumers will be able to access the same movie library as part of their pay-television subscription, without needing additional equipment or learning to use a separate remote control or user interface.

“For smaller service providers, or even major pay-television providers, it may make sense to partner with an aggregator to deliver the largest available movie library, rather than attempting to manage their own offering,” said William Cooper, the founder and chief executive of informitv.

Operators will be able to offer a larger library of movies without having to invest in their own video on demand infrastructure and programming rights. Aggregators like Vudu are able to reach a broader audience through boxes that are already deployed. Consumers benefit from the greater choice without having to buy separate devices.